Are you the best Homework Partner for your Child?
Homework is as certain as being the one that gets drenched on a water ride when you didn’t even want to ride it. Unless you are pursuing non-traditional schooling, children always have homework. Many times, they count on their parents for help and guidance. Sometimes we are even supposed to know the answers!! However, sometimes, as much as we want to be the right homework partner, we aren’t.
AND IT’S OK!
Signs you are NOT the best Homework Partner
You are too busy
Today, parents are often balancing career and home responsibilities. I know I am guilty of letting work drip over into family time. If you are bringing homework and your child is requesting help, it can be irritating to be dragged away from what you need to do to pay the bills.
Can you set aside work and only focus on homework time without having your mind drift? If you can’t, I encourage you to start reviewing other options for help you’re your child. Being a stressed parent and working on frustrating homework is NOT a great combination.
If you still want to dive into homework, consider signing up for information on The Homework Playbook workshop. It’s opened twice a year to help parents work on bringing their best face to homework time. Parents who bring work home are guilty of having little or no time for their kids.
2. You use angry words when frustrated
Children get it wrong from time to time, but that doesn’t make them dumb or lazy.
Of course, we don’t want to tell our children that they are not to blame and that their teacher is the moron. No way!
If your child struggles at school, we don’t want to use harsh terms and language.
Instead, try to help them solve their problems (better yet, help them solve their own problems). However, if you cannot get them unstuck, ask a neighbor’s kid (preferably a grown child) or see an academic coach for the best ways to assist your child. I ask my students if they have a friend in their class and we discuss if that child can be a contact for homework questions, forgotten assignments, and other needs.
Remember that negative feedback depresses children and can transform a potentially bright child into a timid failure. I know it is never my intention to lose my cool during homework time, but parents make mistakes. Instead, we need to learn the tools to help us collect our thoughts and move forward in positive ways.
Our children learn from us, and when they see us collect our emotions, apologize for mistakes and move forward, it is a lesson well learned.
3. You impose your ideas
Homework is meant to help children solve problems on their own and make independent decisions.
When you impose your ideas, your child not only loses the opportunity to develop their problem-solving skills, but they also feel less confident in themselves.
Don’t just tell your kid “A is the answer.” Ask them questions about what they were taught in school. Look through their school books. Tell them to explain what they know about the homework in question.
Homework questions are waaaaaay different from when I was in school. I was terrible at math then, and I am even worse now! Sometimes I want to “just get through it” and doing it my way, seems to make it easier. However, it can bite me in the butt later when my daughter struggles on tests because now she is even MORE confused!
4. You do the work for them
Your child may have been asked to find out the meaning of specific vocabulary and memorize them. If you think writing out the meaning for them is helping, you’re wrong.
You can’t do your child’s assignment or pay another person to get it done. Some parents even a hire freelance writers on platforms such as Upwork or Fiverr. *Note- I have never had a parent tell me they do this and would probably die of shock. When I see offers like this on craigslist I typically report them.. because I am mean like that.*
Think about the effect of such actions on your child’s future. Not all parents go so far to hire people to do the work, but think if you might have ever done a liiiiittttle too much of a project. I’m sure I have!
It’s an easy habit to break, but if you are doing it consistently, or paying someone to do it (I still can’t get over that idea), then maybe someone else is a better fit. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. You might have so much stress on your own plate that you think it is helping.
Again, I encourage you to get on the list for information about the Homework Playbook so we can work through the stress and time management to help you be your child’s best homework partner.
The bottom line
An essential part of helping your child to succeed, is being a reliable homework partner. It also means finding someone to step in if you are not the best fit.
My husband and I have to switch roles all the time, depending on the subject or needs of our daughters. It’s not always easy, but it definitely works to their benefit.
If you can, create the time to provide the guidance and extra explanation which your little one needs to thrive during homework time.
Show your children that they have what it takes to make solid decisions. Prove to them that they can be rock stars that make you proud.
If you are a single parent or time is short - look to other people in the community to help. That might mean a teacher, after school program, relative or sibling. Don’t let all the pressure fall on your shoulders!
If you need to find the best homework partner for your child, let’s chat. I have helped parents and kiddos become successful at figuring out that frustrating thing called homework time!